My name is Labeeb , and together with my wife Dawn, we will be embarking upon this adventure, to drive from Saudi Arabia back to the United Kingdom.
Essentially, the trip will be a drive home through the Middle East and then mainland Europe. This will be covered in more detail as the blog records more and more updates.
One of the hurdles presented is the Syria Situation. As you all know, the country has been literally torn apart by its civil war , resulting in no access from Saudi by road. Not that anyone would actually want to enter Syria at this moment in time, due to the large scale warfare witnessed by the world.
There were several alternative routes, and again, will cover this in the “where” section.
The rough plan is to leave Riyadh and drive north to Tabuk. Just this leg of the journey will probably be longest single driving period – around 12-14 hours and around 1,300kms. Saudi is a huge land mass. An overnight stay in Tabuk, and then slightly eastwards to Haql and the coastal road to the land border crossing with Jordan. Once into Jordan, we intend on visiting Petra, and then back southbound to Aqaba and the land border crossing into Israel at the Eilat crossing. The plan is then to put the car onto a ferry at the Haifa port , ship it to Athens.
We would probably fly from Tel Aviv ( Ben Gurion airport ) to Athens, as we don’t fancy sitting on a ferry for three days – the duration of the crossing from Haifa to Athens. We’d pick up the car from the ferry then broadly, the route would be as follows:
Athens through Greece > Albania > Montenegro > Croatia > Slovenia > Italy > Switzerland>Austria > Germany >Czech Republic>Germany (again) > Netherlands> Belgium > Luxembourg > France and then a ferry to the UK from ( probably ) Dunkirk arriving at Dover.
I’m expecting there to be a few deviations from the route, as this is planned very much a an extended holiday, and we may decide en route to visit different places.
Another possible alternative route was to go through Iran, drive north and hit the border with Turkey, driving the full length of Turkey before reaching Greece. However, this presented a couple of problems.
We could have driven from Saudi to Kuwait > Iraq>Iran. I felt uneasy about entering into Iraq given the instability around at the moment, and we would have driven relatively close to Basra. In addition, the visa requirements for Iran just seemed unfeasible.
Firstly, we’d have needed a visa in advance. Not so much of an issue, as there is an Iranian Embassy here in Riyadh. However, as British citizens, we’d need to be accompanied at all times by an official tour guide. And we’d obviously have to pay a daily rate, as well as all meals and accommodation costs. After some thinking, we decided not to pursue this route and decided that Jordan – Israel – Greece was the simplest one.
One option to bypass Iraq was to drive to the UAE directly from Saudi and board a ferry to Iran from the port of Sharjah, arriving at Bandar Abbas. But again, due to the requirements of being accompanied at all times, this was dismissed.
From what I know, only three nationalities require this accompanied status , citizens from USA, Canada and the UK.
The provisional date for leaving Riyadh is approximately May 2020. This has been postponed a couple of times already due to work circumstances, but this time, we are fairly confident that work will indeed come to an end, and we will be on our way .
Driving from Riyadh to the Jordanian border is a two day trip. We’d be looking to arrive into Israel in late May / early June and into Greece not long after that. The remainder of the trip would take us through the summer months and we want to arrive at home in Nottingham , I guess some time around late Aug / Sept.